Act II: Action
I went to see Chicago last night at the Ziegfeld (now a Pepsi theater, so no small sacrifice)
Act III: Resolution
IT SUCKED. Catherine Zeta-Jones’ (aka, my phone pimp) was alive, and Queen Latifah had one good song (ok, great). But the film was emotionally and narrative…ly? flat. Feeling nothing, not caring what happens to any character, and not getting any sense at all from the film of where we were in the story, I almost left several times.
Embarassingly, it was media hype of Richard Gere’s earnestly-studied tapdancing that kept me there, until I realized I may have already missed it (I hadn’t, and it wasn’t worth it). After the surprising turns by Ewan MacGregor, Nicole Kidman and Jim Broadbent in Moulin Rouge, the bar has been raised; “Wow! [Insert unlikely star name here] is singing!” just isn’t enough anymore. [Of course, Woody Allen proved it wasn’t enough before, either.]
Lastly, the editing. If Moulin Rouge‘s occasional 100-120 cpm (cuts per minute) were too much for some people, at least they held up as a creative choice. Some of Chicago‘s musical numbers reached at least 70-80 cpm, but to disjointed, not frenetic effect. A barrage of nearly indecipherable cuts might fit an orgiastic mob dance scene, but rapidfire cuts of two women dancing on stage seems just like a cheap attempt to liven things up (or, more likely, feeble cover for an actress’s less-than-sharp dancing).